UNESCO director general in Malawi for three-day visit

Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, on Wednesday arrived in Malawi for a three-day official visit where, among others, she is expected to have an audience with President Joyce Banda.

Bokova is on an official visit to selected African countries which include Malawi, Ghana, Gabon and Congo.

During her visit, among others, the UNESCO head will promote technical and vocational education to facilitate the socio-economic development of the said countries.

In Malawi, besides having an audience with President Banda, the director general will also meet other government authorities as well as key players in the education sector.

UNESCO boss in Malawi

UNESCO boss in Malawi

Malawi’s Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Eunice Kazembe, said Bokova’s visit to the country was significant as it will boost their working partnership on technical and vocational education programs (TEVET) in order to expand the country’s skills base.

She also said her visit will enhance the country’s plans to review and preserve Malawi’s cultural heritage sites.

“Her visit is very significant because as a country we already have a number of activities underway such as profiling important cultural groupings under the Global Cultural Heritage with the help of UNESCO,” she said.

Kazembe said among the groupings include Mulhakho wa Alhomwe, Nyau and Vimbuza dance.

The minister also said they were looking at pre-recording and preserving some of the country’s children’s games which are slowly disappearing.

Among others, UNESCO renders support to some education institutions such as University of Malawi’s Polytechnic, Mzuzu University and the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST).

While in Malawi, Bokova is also expected to launch the second phase of UNESCO’s Capacity Development for Education for All (CapEFA).

From Malawi, the UNESCO head will proceed to Brazzaville (Congo) where she will take part in the 9th edition of the Pan African Music Festival (FESPAM) on July 12th which will be presided over by that country’s President Denis Sassou-N’Guesso.

The director general who launched her tour on 5th July and is expected to wind up on the 13th July (Saturday) has already been to Ghana and Gabon where she also had audiences with Presidents John Dramani and Ali Bongo Ondimba respectively.

In Gabon, Bokova took part in the Albert Schweitzer Hospital Centennial Symposium which was organized by that country to celebrate the legacy of one the 20th century’s greatest humanitarians and Nobel Peace Prize 1952.

The director general also participated in a debate with Michel Sidibé, Head of UNAIDS, on the importance of Education to combat HIV/AIDS and on the research on Malaria and Tuberculosis supported by the Albert Schweitzer Hospital.

Last month, Bokova attended the celebrations of the 21st Summit of the African Union (AU) and its 50th Anniversary where she also addressed African Youth on the General History of Africa and African renaissance.

Bokova, a Bulgarian national, is the first female to hold the position of UNESCO director general.

UNESCO was founded on 16 November 1945 and is one of the United Nations (UN) agency with a special mandate in education.

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